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Election petitions: Govs scale tribunals’ hurdle

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Election petitions: Govs scale tribunals’ hurdle

Tribunals affirm Ganduje, Wike, Umahi, Okowa,  Sanwo-Olu, Tambuwal, others’ elections

 

 

Governors, opponents head to Appeal Court

 

FELIX NWANERI reports on the judgements of the various governorship election petition tribunals in the states where gubernatorial elections held during the 2019 general election, which have mainly seen the affirmation of those declared winners by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

 

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t has been torrent of judgements from the various Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal entertaining suits, challenging some of the outcomes of the March 9 gubernatorial election held in 29 out of the country’s 36 states.

The states are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu, Taraba, Abia, Imo, Oyo, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto, Rivers, Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Jigawa, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Yobe, Nasarawa, Kano, Kwara and Gombe.

The governorship elections did not hold in seven states – Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Osun and Ekiti as a result of the interregnum by the courts.

While the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), won in Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Jigawa, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Yobe, Nasarawa, Kano, Kwara and Gombe states; the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) The states won in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu, Taraba, Abia, Imo, Oyo, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto and Rivers states.

As expected after elections, the victors celebrated their victory and were inaugurated, while the losers cried foul and headed to the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in their respective states to seek justice.

But, after interesting legal battles at the various tribunals, the judgements so far have only affirmed the results as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as none of the results of the governorship elections has been upturned by the court of first instance. 

However, it is not yet over as the petitioners still have two more legs to go. Already, a majority of them have vowed to challenge the respective judgements of the various tribunals at the Court of Appeal.

Unlike before, the cases would have ended at the Court or Appeal, but for the amendment to the Constitution and Electoral Act, which paved the way for the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter on petitions over governorship elections.

According to the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), governorship election cases traverse a journey of three steps. They start at the tribunals, from where they move to Court of Appeal and terminate at the Supreme Court.

Kaduna: Ashiru fails to prove claims against el-Rufai

It was victory for Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasri el-Rufai as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Kaduna affirmed him as the duly elected governor of the state.

INEC had declared el-Rufai, who contested the election on the platform of the APC as the winner of the March 9 election, but the his main challenger and the candidate of the PDP, Isa Ashiru, headed to the tribunal on the ground that the poll was characterised by irregularities.

But, delivering judgement on Ashiru’s petition, chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ibrahim Bako, said the petitioner was unable to prove his allegations of massive rigging and other electoral irregularities.

Consequently, the tribunal struck out the petition for lack of substantial evidence.

The petitioner, had in his final written address on August 19, asked the tribunal to cancel 515,951 votes, which he alleged were unlawfully added to the total votes cast during the election.

He called 135 witnesses out of the 685 he mentioned in the petition to prove alleged massive rigging, ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the election.

But, Justice Bako said the signatures of most of the 135 witnesses the petitioners presented in their written statements as deposed before the tribunal did not match with the specimens taken when they testified in court.

He also said that some of the names of the witnesses did not match with the names on the voters’ cards, which they presented before the tribunal.

While el-Rufai welcomed the affirmation of his re-election and called on all residents of the state to join hands in progressive endeavours for peace and development of the state, Kaduna State chairman of the PDP, Hassan Hyat, said the party executive would meet with the counsel and take a decision on the next line of action.

According to him, the tribunal’s decision was the first stage of the petition as the party will soon come out with a position.

Ogun: Akinlade’s petition against Abiodun ‘destined’ to fail

In Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun also had his election affirmed by the Governorship Election Petition sitting in Abeokuta.

The tribunal, which dismissed the suit by the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade, said the petition was destined to fail.

“The petition is destined to fail, it failed and is hereby dismissed,” the chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Yusuf Halilu, stated.

Akinlade had prayed the tribunal to disqualify Abiodun on grounds of submitting false academic qualification, but Justice Halilu held that the suit was stuck out because the case had been laid to rest by the Court of Appeal.

Adding that petitioner would not be allowed to resurrect or open same matter at the tribunal since the appellate court had deemed it “statue barred,” the judge also noted that the petitioner filed the application outside the window of time allowed.

Kano: Ganduje triumphs as Yusuf’s petition fails

It was relief for Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who fought the

 

 

political battle of his life to return to power as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano dismissed the petition that challenged his victory.

Ganduje, who contested the poll on the platform of the APC was declared winner by INEC after a supplementary poll on March 23, but Abba Yusuf of the PDP and his party filed a petition against the governor, his party and the electoral commission (INEC) to challenge the poll’s outcome.

Whereas Yusuf prayed the tribunal to set aside the election on the ground that it was fraught with irregularities, Ganduje insisted that the petitioners failed to prove that the election was rigged.

In its judgement, the tribunal, headed by Justice Halima Shamaki, not only upheld Ganduje’s election, but dismissed Yusuf’s petition. The three judges on the tribunal unanimously adopted the judgement.

Justice Shamaki said INEC was right both in declaring the March 9 election as inconclusive and in declaring Ganduje the winner of the re-run election.

According to her, declaring an election as inconclusive, where there are lawful reasons, is constitutional.

She further held that the petitioners’ claim that electoral rules and guidelines were not complied with in an election they claimed to have won the majority of lawful votes is a paradox. “It’s like trying to mix oil and water,” the judge said.

She added that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of corrupt practices and non-compliance by the respondents beyond reasonable doubt.

Her words: “The carbonised copies of documentary evidence tendered by the petitioners were mostly unstamped, some are unsigned, others contained re-written data, hence amounted to documentary hearsay and therefore inadmissible.

“We shall not go into details in the petition. He who asserts must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Respondents are not bound to prove. In civil cases, the burden to prove lies on the plaintiff. Where the plaintiff fails to prove his case, the case must fail. As such, the petition is hereby dismissed.”

The state chapter chairman of the PDP, Rabi’u Suleiman-Bichi, in his reaction to the judgement, said they will study it and decide on the next line of action.

Ganduje, on his part, described the judgement as another round of victory. “When the election was held, we won, but the opposition PDP decided to challenge our victory at the election tribunal. It is clear to all now that our victory is genuine as confirmed by the tribunal.”

Rivers: Wike trounces AAC, ADP candidates

For Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, it was double victory at the tribunal, following the dismissal of the petition filed by the governorship candidates of African Action Congress (AAC) and Action Democratic Party (ADP), Biokpomabo Awara and Victor Fingesi, respectively.

Both candidates sought the nullification of the poll that produced Wike of the PDP as governor of the oil-rich state.

In separate judgements on the matter, the tribunal said Wike was duly elected and that INEC was right in announcing him winner of the poll. The tribunal added that both petitioners failed to prove their claim that the election was marred by violence and irregularities.

Justice K. B. Olawoyin, who delivered judgement on AAC’s petition, declared that Wike won in 19 of the 21 local government areas where elections held, while the petitioner won in two local government areas.

He further held that Awara failed to provide evidence on his claim violence, adding that what was suspended was the collation of results for six local government areas and not the entire election as the petitioner claimed.

According to the judge, as at the time of the suspension of collation, INEC had concluded collation of results in 17 local government areas. He stated that by participating in the collation process, the petitioner had waived his right to complain.

He also ruled that the results tendered by the petitioner, while giving evidence were inadmissible and, therefore, expunged from the records.

The petition by the ADP candidate – Fingesi – was also dismissed as the chairman of the tribunal, Justice K.A. Orjiako, in a unanimous judgement, described the petition as an adventure to discover the non-existent.

According to judge, Fingesi lacked the locus standi to file the petition. He held that inconsistent facts contained in the petition filed by the ADP governorship candidate made it incompetent.

The tribunal said the petitioner wrote that he was challenging the election of the first petitioner. It said an election petition must challenge the person returned as winner and not the petitioner.

“We hold firmly that the petitioner has failed woefully in proving his allegations. The petition lacks merit and is hereby dismissed,” the judge said.

While counsel to the ADP candidate, Dolapo-Tella Attoni, said he will consult his client on the next line of action as there many grounds of appeal against the judgement, Awara’s counsel, Henry Bello, emphatically said his client will appeal the judgement.

But, Wike, in his reaction, said all PDP candidates in the state during the 2019 general election had virtually no opponents. “It is so painful that someone could say that no election held in Rivers State. There was nobody who ran the election against us,” he said.

Imo: Ihedioha scales APC, AA, APGA’s hurdle

It was a hat trick for Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State as the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Abuja affirmed his election.

The trio of Hope Uzodinma (APC), Uche Nwosu (Action Alliance – AA) and Ifeanyi Araraume (All Progressives Grand Alliance – APGA) had asked the tribunal to nullify the election of Ihedioha (PDP) on the ground that he was unlawfully declared as the governor of Imo state by INEC.

According to the petitioners, the March 9, governorship election, through which Ihedioha emerged was marred by irregularities. But, the tribunal held that the three petitions lacked merit.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mallami Umar-Dogondagi, in his judgement, dismissed the petition by Nwosu of AA for incompetence.

In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel also struck out the petition by the APC and APGA candidates, Uzodinma and Araraume, respectively

The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on them by the law.

Benue: Jime’s petition against Ortom dismissed

Another governor, who had his election upheld, is Samuel Ortom of Benue State. The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Makurdi, ruled that he was duly elected governor of the state.

The three-member tribunal headed by Justice Henry Olusiyi, dismissed the petition by the candidate of the APC, Emmanuel Jime and his party for lack of merit and declared Ortom of the PDP as winner of the poll.

Jime had claimed that the election was marred with irregularities, over-voting and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act and prayed the court to declare him winner on the ground that he scored majority of lawful votes cast with a margin of 2,224 votes or nullify Ortom’s election and order the conduct of a fresh election in the state.

 

 

The APC governorship candidate challenged the results declared in Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Ukum, Ushongo and Vandeikya localgovernment areas of the state.

During the hearing, the petitioner called 59 witnesses, who testified that they witnessed irregularities, over voting and other electoral malpractices perpetrated by the PDP and INEC.

Jime, on his part, tendered over 1,100 electoral documents, including forms EC8A, EC8B, EC8C, EC8D, EC8E, voters register and card reader reports. He also tendered 2019 manual and guidelines for electoral officials in 384 Polling Units across 11 local government areas in contention.

 

However, Ortom, INEC and PDP asked the tribunal to strike out the petition in its entirety for lacking in merit.

 

But, Justice Olusiyi faulted the testimonies of the petitioner’s witnesses. According to him, none of them substantiated their claims of over voting and other irregularities alleged.

The judge further said that the petitioner failed to link the documents tendered in evidence to the petition. According to him, the petitioner dumped the documents on the tribunal.

 

He also said that until the National Assembly amends the constitution, the voters’ register remains the only document that can ascertain the number of registered voters and not the smart card readers.

 

 

Bauchi: Mohammed floors Abubakar a second time 

It was another victory for Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, who unseated Mohammed Abubakar as governor of the north eastern state in the general elections as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal upheld his election.

 

 

Mohammed was the candidate of the PDP in the election, while Abubakar, the then incumbent governor of the state, was the standard bearer of the APC.

Abubakar and his party had filed a petition against Mohammed, PDP and INEC to challenge the governor’s victory in the March 23 supplementary election in the state.

 

 

 

The petitioners alleged widespread irregularities in 336 polling units in Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro and Bauchi local government areas of the state. Consequently, they urged the tribunal to nullify the election held in polling units in the councils and declare Abubakar as winner of the election, having scored the highest valid votes, or in the alternative, order the conduct   of a fresh election in the affected areas. However, Mohammed and his party urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it lacked merit The tribunal answered the governor’s prayer as it dismissed the petition on the ground that Mohammed was duly elected with majority votes. Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Salihu Shuaibu, who read the unanimous judgement of the three-man panel, said INEC was right both in declaring the March 9 election as inconclusive and in declaring Mohammed the winner of the re-run election that was held thereafter. He added that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act by the respondents.

 

“We shall not go into details in the petition; he who asserts must prove beyond all reasonable doubts,” he said. Delta: Ogboru fails to stop Okowa For Chief Great Ogboru, who made several attempts to govern oil-rich Delta State, what he could not get through the ballot in the March 9 governorship election also failed at the tribunal.

 

The businessman turned politician, who who was the candidate of the APC in the election, had approached the Delta State Governorship Petition Tribunal that sat in Asaba, possibly to turn the table against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP. But his hope was dashed as the tribunal affirmed the re-election of Governor Okowa. Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Suleiman Belgore, described the petition filed by Ogboru and his party as “opportunistic and gold digging.”

 

 

The judge also held that the petitioner failed to prove that Okowa was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast during the election and consequently dismissed the petition in its entirety. Akwa Ibom: Emmanuel dusts Ekere After a grueling poll in which he brushed opposition’s threat to return to power, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State also scaled another hurdle at the tribunal.

 

The governor was elected for a second term in office on the platform of the PDP, after defeating his APC rival, Nsima Ekere of APC and others. But, the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), who alleged irregularities during the election, approached the tribunal to nullify the process. His petition was however dismissed by the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal that sat in Uyo. In a unanimous decision, the tribunal said the petition lacked merit. Emmanuel, who commended the judgement and dedicated his victory to God and the people the state, called on the opposition in Akwa Ibom to join him in developing the state.

 

According to him, the time has come for the people to come together and move the state forward as the ‘Completion Agenda’ was an Akwa Ibom Agenda. Taraba: Danladi’s petition against Ishaku hit the rocks Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, who won the March 9 election on the platform of the PDP, equally triumphed at the tribunal as the petition against his victory by his APC counterpart, Sani Danladi, was dismissed.

 

The Governorship Election Tribunal, headed by Justice M.O. Adewara, which affirmed Ishaku’s election, held that the petitioner failed to prove his claim that the election was marred with irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act. Justice Adewara, who read the lead judgement, held that Danladi was not qualified to contest the 2019 election.

 

He also noted that the affirmation of the judgement by the Supreme Court implied that the APC had no valid candidate in the election. Katsina: Lado’s bid to upturn Masari’s victory fails In a split decision of two to one, the Katsina State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Abuja, held that the candidate of the PDP, Senator Yakubu Lado, failed to prove his allegation of substantial non-compliance to the Electoral Act in the conduct of the poll that saw the re-election of Governor Aminu Masari.

 

 

However, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Alli Jos, in a dissenting judgement, allowed the petition and ordered a fresh election in the state. His dissenting judgement was read by another member of the panel. Lado, who contested the election on the platform of the PDP, had asked the tribunal to overturn the declaration of Governor Masari of the APC.

 

He predicated his petition on the grounds that Masari falsified his age and academic qualifications in the affidavit submitted alongside his INEC nomination form. But, the tribunal in its final analysis held that evidence of witnesses and some others is of no probative value since they confirmed that they gave their statements in Hausa language, whereas the Hausa versions were not before the tribunal. Abia: Otti fails to prove claims against Ikpeazu’s victory The gale of affirmation of election of governors continued in Abia State, where the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Umuahia dismissed the petition, which challenged the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

 

The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr Alex Otti, had approached the tribunal to nullify the declaration of PDP’s Ikpeazu as winner of the March 9 election. Otti, who came third in the poll, alleged that Ikpeazu did not win majority of lawful votes cast during the election. He therefore prayed the tribunal to declare the election invalid by reasons of criminal practices, nonsubstantial compliance with the electoral guidelines, and over voting in 788 polling units. But, the tribunal’s chairman, Justice Lekan Ogumonye, who read the unanimous judgement of the threeman panel, dismissed Otti’s petition over his inability to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubts.

 

The tribunal held that the 65 polling units agents, who appeared as witnesses for the petitioners, could not give sufficient evidences to prove allegations of over voting in 788 polling units. It further held that if even there were some infractions in said polling units, they were not substantial to invalidate the entire election. Nasarawa: Sule triumphs over Ombugadu Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, equally had his election affirmed by the tribunal as the petition filed by the candidate of the PDP, David Ombugadu, was dismissed due to lack of merit. Ombugadu, a former member of the House of Representatives, had challenged the outcome of the election on account of alleged unlawful declaration of Sule as winner of the poll. The PDP candidate also claimed that the poll did not comply with provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.

 

 

He further claimed intimidation of voters and unlawful cancellation of votes during the election. Delivering judgement on his petition, Justice Abba Mohammed, who chaired the tribunal, held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations.

 

The judge also held that Ombugadu failed to prove how collation of results was disrupted. “The burden of prove lay with the petitioner and he has failed to prove the allegations. The petitioner has failed to produce two sets of results –original and fake – to prove that the outcome was falsified in favour of APC candidate. “Hence he failed to prove that, we therefore, uphold the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”

 

Justice Mohammed averred. Sokoto: Aliyu fails to stop Tambuwal Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, also had his election upheld by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for the state that sat in Abuja.

 

The three man tribunal dismissed the petition of the APC and its governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, for lacking in merit. Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abbas Bawale, in his judgement, said the petitioners failed to establish their claims of the poll’s non-compliance with the Electoral Act and over voting. Bawale also said the evidences of the petitioners’ witnesses amounted to hearsay, and as a result, could not prove any of the allegations.

 

 

had asked the tribunal to upturn the declaration of Tambuwal, who contested the election on the platform of the PDP on the ground that the exercise was marred by irregularities. The Sokoto State governorship election which held on March 9 was declared inconclusive following cancellation of 75,403 votes which were higher than the 3,413 margin between the leading candidates.

 

However, Tambuwal won the March 23 supplementary, with a slim margin of 342 votes. Cross River: Ayade knocks out Owan-Enoh It was also victory for Governor Ben Ayade as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Cross River State upheld his election. PDP’s Ayade had his victory at the poll challenged by the candidate of the APC, Senator John Owan-Enoh on the ground that he was wrongfully excluded from participating in the election. In his ruling on the petition, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Josiah Majebi, said that the first and second grounds of the petition were irreconcilable and mutually exclusive. He said that in the first place, the petitioner failed to seek redress within the legally specified 14 days allowed for complaints.

 

The tribunal strongly disagreed with the petitioner that he was wrongfully excluded by the second respondent, INEC, stressing that much of the grievances expressed in the petition were pre-election matters, which the tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain. “Any disputes within a given political party which stands election before actual election such as nomination or withdrawal or exclusion are pre-election issues. Our mandates don’t cover them. Therefore, such are ineffective grounds. We therefore strike them and such others out for incompetence,” the judge held. He also held that there were multiplicity of litigations by interested parties of the APC regarding the governorship election, which according to him, complicated the petition.

 

The judge said after carefully consideration of the applications, written addresses and counter responses by the respondents, the tribunal came to the conclusion that many views of the petitioner did not only lacked merit, but amounted to gross abuse of court processes. He maintained that the petition is academic, hypothetical and frivolous, adding that “the petitioner’s allegation that he was excluded from the election yet he scored valid votes of 131,161 takes his petition contradictory.” Plateau: Useni vows to fight on after losing to Lalong Plateau state was not left out in the affirmation of election of sitting governors as the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal upheld Governor Simon Lalong’s victory in the gubernatorial poll. Lalong, who was the candidate of the APC in the election, had his victory challenged by Senator Jeremiah Useni of the PDP.

 

The latter had prayed the tribunal to declare him winner of the election on the grounds of disparity in the names supplied by Governor Lalong in Form CF001 and irregularities during the conduct of the poll. However, Justice Halima Salami, who led the tribunal, held that the petitioner did not adequately prove his case. She further held that Useni failed to prove his allegation of electoral irregularities bothering on falsifications of results and over-voting. While Lalong, through his counsel, Pius Akuboh (SAN), commended the tribunal for the verdict, Useni, through his counsel, Edward Pwajok (SAN), said he will appeal against the judgement.

 

”There are many bus stops in judiciary and we will challenge the verdict in a higher court. The tribunal has done its work, but it is long journey. Thank God there are higher levels as the judgement itself has already formulated many grounds for appeal,” he said.

 

Kwara: Abdulrazaq floors Atunwa again It was another victory for the APC governorship candidate in Kwara State in the March 9 election, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq over his PDP counterpart, Razak Atunwa. Abdulrazaq emerged tops in the election by a landslide, but Atunwa prayed the tribunal to sack the governor on the ground of certificate forgery.

 

The PDP candidate particularly challenged the authenticity of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) result presented by Governor Abdulrazaq as well as his competence to contest the poll. But, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Bassey Effiong, in his judgement, said all documents and certificates presented by the respondent during the election were not forged. According to the judge, Governor Abdulrazaq did not violate the provisions of Sections 177 of the Constitution based on the certificates he presented to contest the election.

 

He held that the word “Rahaman” was valid and that the assertion that the name written on the certificates did not start with “Abdul” is not a strong argument.

 

He maintained the petitioner was not able to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt as enshrined in Sections 35(5)(6) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). Reacting to the judgement, the governor described it as triumph of truth over falsehood and a sweet victory for Kwarans. His words: “This judgement affirms the truism that never will falsehood triumph over truth nor evil over good till the end of time no matter the efforts or public grandstanding of the purveyors of such falsehood.” Lagos: Sanwo-Olu’s victory affirmed as Awamaridi fails to prove claims Another governor, who had his election upheld by the tribunal, is Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

 

The Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, headed by Justice T. T Asua, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the petition filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Ifagbemi Awamaridi, The tribunal held that its earlier decision to dismiss the petition, which was later appealed by the petitioners’, was still valid because the petition was not filed according to the laws governing the electoral laws. The tribunal further described the petition as a “futile and wasteful exercise.” It also ruled that the petitioners could not prove their allegations of mental incompetence against Sanwo- Olu as well as their allegations of election malpractices against the governor and his party – APC.

 

Oyo: Adelabu fails to nullify Makinde’s election The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Ibadan, Oyo State, also upheld the election of Seyi Makinde. Makinde contested the election on the platform of the PDP, but his APC counterpart, Adebayo Adelabu, who felt dissatisfied with the outcome of the poll, approached the tribunal, seeking the nullification of the election. But, in a unanimous judgement by Justice Sirajo Muhammed, the threemember tribunal said the petitioner failed to prove allegations of corrupt practices, over-voting, improper accreditation, inaccurate ballot counting and non-compliance with the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).

 

Niger: Nasko’s bid to stop Bello flops Niger State was also not left out in the affirmation trend as the state’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal upheld Governor Sani Bello’s election. Bello was the standard bearer of the APC in the election, but his PDP counterpart Umar Nasko, alleged forgery and falsification of documents against the governor.

 

However, Nasko’s petition hit the rocks as the tribunal ruled the he failed produce necessary authority to authenticate the documents being alleged to be false. On the allegation that the election was marred with intimidation, violence, vote-buying among other acts of irregularities, the tribunal held that the petition was bereft of pieces of evidence hence Nasko’s failure to prove his case. Chairman of the tribunal, Justice John Igboji said: “We have come to the inevitable conclusion that the petitioner failed to establish his case as there is no shred of cogent evidence in proof of the allegation as required by relevant laws.

 

“In the circumstance we accordingly hold that the petitioner is not entitled to any relief sought, his petition being bereft of any merit and the petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.” Ebonyi: Easy victory for Umahi over Agha The story was the same in Ebonyi State, where the Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Abakaliki, the capital, upheld the election of Governor David Umahi of the PDP. Umahi’s victory at the poll was challenged by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Chief Ajah Agha, on the ground of unlawful exclusion of his name from the ballot paper.

 

Delivering judgement on the matter, Justice A.B Abdukarim, who headed the three-man tribunal, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit. “PDM did not submit the name of its candidate to INEC when it was supposed to do so. Your party sent the name three days after closure of submission according to finding. “Also your party did not organise primaries as to produce a candidate according to INECs guideline, therefore, your petition lacks merit,” he stated.

 

Adamawa: Another triumph for Fintiri over Bindow It was also victory for Governor Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. Fintiri of the PDP had unseated Jibrila Bindow of the APC, but the latter filed a petition at the tribunal, seeking nullification of the governorship election. But, Justice Adediran Adebara, who read the judgement of the tribunal, dismissed the petition on two grounds, thereby affirming the victory of Governor Fintiri. The judge held that the petitioner failed to provide substantial evidence to prove allegations of overvoting and non-compliance to the electoral law in the conduct of the election.

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Group raises alarm ahead of Bayelsa polls

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Group raises alarm ahead of Bayelsa polls

*Says vote buying, deployment of arms are early danger signs

Pauline Onyibe, Yenago

A non-governmental organisation, YIAGA Africa, under its ‘Watching the Vote (WTV)’ programme, has said it has identified early warning signs of trouble ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State with its observers noticing the deployment of political thugs and stockpiling of arms.

Speaking on Thursday in Yenagoa, the state capital, during a media parley were the group reeled out their findings so far ahead of the election, the representative of the NGO, Cynthia Mbamalu said that earlier the group had deployed about 520 observers to the eight local government areas of the state for the purpose of monitoring the election.

‘Watching the Vote’ she said is a comprehensive study of the electoral process which included the observation of the political parties’ primaries and pre-election environment across the state.

YIAGA Africa said that it was therefore foreseeing the outbreak of violence in Yenagoa and Sagbama LGs because of the recruitment of thugs.

Already their fears played out on Wednesday at Nembe Local Government where many were feared dead, including a media worker, after a clash by supporters of the two main parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) during a rally there.

Mbamalu also said that the observers noticed physical and verbal violence in Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa, Brass, Nembe, and Sagbama local government areas.

On trading of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), Cynthia Mbamalu said: “In Yenagoa, MTV findings revealed that some voters in Opolo and Gbararian areas were selling their PVCs for between N500 and N1,000.”

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Bayelsans deserve continuity of good governance – Dickson

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Bayelsans deserve continuity of good governance – Dickson

Mr. Moses Dickson, a lawyer and entrepreneur, in this interview with TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE speaks on the Saturday governorship election and why Bayelsans should vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Senator Douye Diri

 

What is your take on this weekend’s governorship election in Bayelsa State?

Like any other Bayelsan, I am excited at the auspicious opportunity presented for us to determine who succeeds Henry Seriake Dickson, the first democratically elected governor of the state to serve out his two terms. I am delighted at the stability and growth the state has enjoyed these past almost eight years and the window the forthcoming elections provide to determine our collective future as Bayelsans. It is my sincere hope that this election produces a winner that will sustain and surpass the quantum leap the state has made in the last almost eight years. I hope the electoral umpire will conduct a free and fair contest tapping from their experiences of this same exercise in this state and beyond and that security agencies will exude professionalism in support of a peaceful and credible election.

Who among the governorship candidates will you support and ask the people of Bayelsa State to vote for and why are you supporting and endorsing your chosen candidate?

Having studied the candidates vying in the next elections, I have reached an informed conclusion to support the Senator Douye Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and enjoin Bayelsans to do the same. The reasons for my choice are not farfetched. Bayelsa needs a governor, who will hit the ground running and not a novice coming to experiment with the position. Senator Diri stands shoulder high above other aspirants in this regards as he has acquired and demonstrated competence, capacity and experience from years of long service in government at many levels.

Senator Diri’s candidacy should also be supported to sustain the long-established tradition of political justice that provides the opportunity for power rotation among the different senatorial zones of the state and the constituent local government areas irrespective on numbers and don’t forget that this same ideology granted our state and region an opportunity to produce a president of this country. It is instructive to note that SDD is from Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area in the Central Senatorial district which is one out of the remaining two local governments that has not produced a governor; acting or substantive in the history of Bayelsa State. He is a man with a listening ear and an impressive and sustainable policy document if implemented diligently.

What do you think Bayelsans will benefit if they return the ruling PDP in the state to power?

In the immediate, Bayelsans can be assured of the completion of projects initiated by the Restoration government by voting for Senator Diri. Educational milestones like the University of Africa, Medical University, the life changing boarding schools in all the senatorial districts not to mention the Ijaw National Academy, the free school feeding and other massive and aggressive educational initiatives such as the school loans and scholarships at all levels be sustained and improved on. Similarly, this election provides an opportunity for Bayelsans to enjoy the gains of sustainability in governance for the first time. The discontinuation of laudable policies and programmes by successive administrations has been identified as a major challenge to the development of any area. Bayelsans with this election should vote the Diri/Lawrence ticket to ensure the sustenance of the current pace development in the state.    

Do you see the APC governorship candidate, Chief David Lyon stopping the PDP candidate?

It is important to clarify that there is just a single party on ground in Bayelsa and that is the PDP. Suffice it to say that the party has been in power since the return to democracy in 1999. In these years, the party to its credit has impacted positively on every household in Bayelsa. This, in turn, has translated to a viable and tested structure that ensures the mobilization of our people in support of the party. The PDP as a party has immensely championed the course of the Ijaw nation over the years. A clear demonstration of the commitment of the PDP to the Ijaw people is the platform provided for the emergence of an Ijaw man as Nigeria’s president despite our “minority” status. The APC as it is today is an assembly of disgruntled politicians driven more by an ambition to secure power than the need to foster the development of our dear state.

The good thing in all of these is that our people can see beyond the smokescreen and will again rally round the party that has shown the greatest commitment to the development of Ijaw land. Quote me any day that there is only one party our people know and trust and that’s the PDP and am glad to say even the business community I belong to have worked hand in hand with policymakers over the years to advance the cause of entrepreneurs and we feel committed to continue this partnership with the incoming governor, Senator Diri and his team.

What is your reaction to the disqualification of the APC deputy governorship candidate, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, on account of presentation of false information to INEC?

The legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act except reversed on appeal, simply implies that the APC has no governorship candidate at all for the gubernatorial election. Justice Inyang Ekwo disqualified Senator Degi-Eremienyo over false information given in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC. The suit was instituted by the PDP against the APC candidate and the judge found and held that he gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies. The judge held also that all his documents bore different names and therefore disqualified him from contesting the election.

By virtue of section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution, a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of governor, who is to occupy the office of deputy governor and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of deputy governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as governor in accordance with the said provisions.

So, any ticket devoid of a joint running mate is automatically invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever because it is simply unconstitutional. The constitution envisions and has deliberately made a governorship candidate to be a tied with the deputy governorship candidate in any election, sharing the same unbreakable fate for better and for worse. One without the other is not competent to contest. So where a governorship candidate cannot, therefore, produce his running mate, his candidature lapses into natural and immediate extinction. My view then is that the APC has no candidate arising from that judgement and I am happy that many of my senior colleagues also share the same view.

What is your advice to Bayelsans as they come out on Saturday to elect a new governor?

I will ask Bayelsans to come out en masse to exercise their franchise via the ballot on Saturday. Furthermore, I would ask our people to reflect on the state of our nation at this time. Specifically, I would ask them to consider the promises the APC made to attain power at the federal level and what has become of those promises today and I am asking my friends in the business community here to understand that our businesses rest on policies of the government which either help our businesses grow or wind down. So, it will be regrettable if anyone believes the APC will achieve in Bayelsa, what it has failed to do with the enormous power and resources it controls at the centre and I am more concerned about my state.

We have made a lot of progress as a state. We are having an airport that will boost our businesses and link up more opportunities for us all and our state, we are having a Brass NLNG, we are making giant strides towards stable power for our businesses, we are having a seaport that will drive all other sectors and many more all under a stable government under PDP in the last seven years and we have to continue this stable and sustainable governance train.

I will also ask Bayelsans to vote for Senator Diri to ensure that the current peaceful and harmonious relationship is sustained in the years ahead. A vote for Diri is a guarantee that Bayelsans will continue to enjoy freedom of expression and association irrespective of their place of origin, religious or political persuasion. I believe Bayelsans from all walks of life will again affirm with their votes their preference for the party that has contributed immensely to the development of the state. I believe Diri, like Dickson, will leave behind a better Bayelsa than he met it.

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Oshiomole to Bayelsans: Vote massively for APC

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Oshiomole to Bayelsans: Vote massively for APC

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday urged Bayelsans to vote massively for the party in Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

Oshiomhole, who spoke in Yenagoa during the grand finale of the party’s governorship campaign, advised Bayelsans not to make the mistake of voting for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which according to him, kept them in darkness for eight years.

Accusing outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson of mismanaging Bayelsa State resources, the APC national chairman further alleged that the governor was intoxicated by power to the extent that he disrespected even leaders who helped him to power.

He added that Dickson belongs to history because the election for his successor would be decided by the electorate and warned the governor against resorting to violence, saying such desperate move would further plunge him deeper into problems.

His words: “Dickson is panicking. How can he not panic when the real Lyon has arrived? Who will not panic when you cannot point at the schools you have built and a Lyon is coming?

“Won’t you panic when you borrow as much as Dickson has borrowed to do things that people cannot see and now a Lyon is coming to ask questions?”

“He knows the meaning of poverty and he understands how poverty dehumanizes. He has struggled against forces and he is an example of what is possible when a man is focused.

“I believe that the people of Bayelsa State by coming out to vote for Lyon, will be making a bold statement that in democracy anybody who is focused, determined and relate with people and community can be supported to a position of authority.

“Dickson will soon find out that democracy is a leveler and an equalizer. In an election, you are either a winner or a looser. As we come out on Saturday, come out and cast your votes for APC. David Lyon is a home-bred man. He has been using his resources to take care of his people. When he becomes governor, Bayelsa will change.”

Also speaking, a former governor of the state and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, said Dickson has received over N1 trillion since he came on board, but there is nothing to show for it.

Insisting Dickson’s government was a failure, Sylva accused the PDP of attacking APC members in the state and shopping for court judgements to stop the opposition from contesting the election.

He said: “Governor Dickson said he had built an airport. A few days ago, he brought some people to come and walk on the tarmac. I thought he was going to bring planes to land on the tarmac. The biggest shame is that the airport is the most expensive airport in the world.

“So far, Dickson has spent N91 billion. He owes N58.2 billion on the airport to banks. So, you can see why Dickson is very desperate because he knows that he has taken Bayelsa people for a ride. He knows that he had done nothing and he had taken us into debt more than anything else.”

Lyon, in his speech, said he has what it takes to take the state out of the woods. “I’m close to you people and let me assure you that Bayelsa will see light under me. For eight years insecurity has been the order of the day, but I have what it takes to solve the problem of insecurity. APC is not coming to deceive you people like PDP did for eight years.”

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Boro’s kinsmen declare support for DIri

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Boro’s kinsmen declare support for DIri

Kinsmen of late Ijaw freedom fighter, Major Isaac Adaka Boro, yesterday, declared support for the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri.

They stated their position at the historic and symbolic town of the Ijaw struggle during the party’s mega rally in Kaiama, headquarters of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.

Governor Seriake Dickson, who addressed the rally, expressed joy that victory is already awaiting the PDP in Saturday’s election.

The governor, who was full of praises for the people of the area, expressed confidence that PDP would emerge victorious at the poll.

His words: “Your massive turn out is a clear indication of your total support to the PDP and I am sure that you are ready to give your votes en bloc to Senator Douye Diri, who is an illustrious and worthy son of Kolokuma.

“I want Kolokuma/Opokuma people to remain focused, peaceful and united and rally round Senator Diri because the task ahead is a collective one.

“I urge you all to turn out in your numbers this Saturday to deliver him as the man I will hand over to come February 2020 as the next governor of the state.”

Chairman of the state PDP, Mr. Moses Cleopas and the Director General of the PDP gubernatorial Campaign team, Dr. Nimbofa Ayawei, urged the people to reciprocate the huge investments that the PDP-led government had made in their area by giving the party bloc votes.

In their separate solidarity speeches, the immediate past speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Tonye Isenah and a former Special Adviser to on Domestic Matters to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Hon, Waripamowei Dudafa, urged the people to work for the Diri/Lawrence ticket.

Earlier, Governor Dickson had presented Senator Diri as the PDP governorship candidate to the Ibenanaowei of Kolokuma Kingdom, King Agara Onya Mozi at his palace, where the royal father gave his blessings.

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Wada charges electorate not to be deterred by threats of violence

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Wada charges electorate not to be deterred by threats of violence

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for this weekend’s governorship election in Kogi State, Engr. Musa Wada, has urged the people of the state not to be deterred by threats of violence and come out to vote.

He gave the charge yesterday at a rally in Ayingba, Dekina Local Government Area of the state.

Attributing the huge crowd at the rally to the people’s determination to vote out the APC-led government in the state, Wada said: “Nobody gave you one naira to come here. You are here because of interest, determination and desire to end maladministration, poverty, lack of salary payment and development decay that characterized the APC government in Kogi State.

“I want to assure you that your sacrifice to liberate the state will not go unnoticed because my first priority as governor, if Allah permits, will be total human and physical development.

“I want enter into covenant with you that I will not compromise in the provision in my ‘rescue mission’ agenda as I will review all the injustice done to you by the present APC government in Kogi State.”

Wada, who assured the people and the electorate that their votes will count, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), police and other security agencies to be professional in the discharge of their duties before, during and after the election.

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It won’t be a taboo for Bayelsa to have a female governor – Clement

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It won’t be a taboo for Bayelsa to have a female governor – Clement

Blessing Clement is the candidate of the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) for this weekend’s governorship election in Bayelsa State. In this interview with PAULINE ONYIBE, she speaks on why she wants to govern the state

 

 

Nigeria has never had a female elected governor. What is your driving force in the contest for the Bayelsa State governorship position?

I am a grassroots politician and I have been in politics since 1999 and I have contributed a lot to the development of Bayelsa State. Some people say there is no way a woman will be a governor of a state, but in other countries, women are involved in governance more than men. The idea of a woman becoming governor is not a taboo, but should be seen as a welcome development. So, I think the time for Bayelsa State to produce a female governor is now.

 

Considering the performance of previous governors of Bayelsa, what is that distinctive difference you intend to make to change the political narrative of the state?

You know that we women don’t play politics of violence, rather we play academic politics and we reason very well. I will reshape the political landscape of Bayelsa State and that would be achieved through peace. You know that women are peacemakers. If you go to the National Assembly, women are there and they are also in the states Assembly. There are also women serving as ministers. So, if I become the governor of Bayelsa State, there is nothing wrong with that. Women don’t fight; we don’t carry guns, so we can use women to bring positive changes in Bayelsa State.

How would you ensure peace in Bayelsa if you become governor given the volatile nature of not only the state, but the entire Niger Delta region?

I have a nine-point agenda that covers areas such security, jobs for the youth, education, infrastructural development and health, among others. When all these are in place, there will be absolute peace in the state. Through empowering the youth, we will ensure because violence comes as a result of hunger. If you come across someone, who is hungry and you say just one word to that person, violence occurs. I have intimated the people about my agenda and everyone is overwhelmed that I am the only one talking about peace in Bayelsa State.

Who is your political mentor given the role political godfathers’ play in Nigeria’s politics?

I will say that God is my political mentor because we said that we don’t need the godfathers. We need just God on our side. You know that godfathers run Bayelsa politics and we only respect the elders and royal fathers. Those are the people that we will look up to as our mentors.

You said you have a nine point agenda,what exactly is your plan for the agriculture sector in the state?

In 1999 when Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was the governor of the state, he bought tractors, but all those tractors are there unused. We have good land for farming. So, we will register every farmer in Bayelsa State and distribute the tractors to them. We will also give loans to the farmers. Gone are those days when we used machetes and hoes to work until we are tired. When you go to the North, you see tractors to clear farmlands and that explains why they have food.

What is your plan for education?

Education is the most powerful tool for development and the most potent weapon to fight poverty. So, I will declare free education at the nursery and primary levels and reduce the cost of school fees for students of secondary and tertiary institutions. I will adequately pay the teachers’ as well as take care of pensioners’ gratuities.

How do you intend to tackle youth restiveness in the state?

That is why I am talking about security and job creation. I will engage the youth in community policing and they will partner with police. You know when you engage these youths; they won’t have to think about criminality. There is so much criminality in the state because these youths are not gainfully employed. Also, we will establish skill acquisition centres in the various local government areas of the state.

How do you intend to boost the revenue base of state in order to fund the programmes you intend to embark on?

Apart from oil, we have enough sand in Bayelsa State to produce glasses, so I will ensure an enabling environment that will attract investors. You know that industries will bring more revenue, so industries like the plastic factory would be revived for our youths to be employed.

Do you intend to run these industries through Public Private Partnership (PPP) or as government owned ventures?

Bayelsa State receives about N20 billion or more every month and the question is: how much is the state’s wage bill? But despite the allocation which the state receives from the federation account, workers in Bayelsa are not being paid. I can’t partner with other companies. I am a businesswoman and I know how much it took me before I become an entrepreneur. I came here since 1989 and some people just came to this state and became governors because they have godfathers. When there is no godfather, all these I have listed can be done. I can’t partner with any company because after some years, they will take all their money back and the company will close down because it is not our own. Go to Akwa Ibom State and see what Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing. He is not running those things through private partnership.

You said that the state receives more than N20 billion every month from the federation account, but sometimes government claims that there is no money to run the state…

If anybody tells you that there is no money to run the state, that person is being economical with the truth. Let me tell you, there is no way you will say that there is no money to run this state that has eight local governments. I don’t want to believe that. I am telling you that I came here in 1989 and I know the problems of Bayelsa. As a businesswoman, I know the capacity I have and you are talking about a state. Do you know that I can bring an industry by myself ?

What is your plan for the Oloibiri oil well?

My leadership will not be for only Ogbia. My concern will be for Oloibiri. That oil museum has to be built. The president has to visit where the oil was first found. That oil well was the first in Nigeria, but that place is now a forest and criminals can hide there. The Oloibiri oil well is just like a first child in Bayelsa State and in the entire Nigeria, but as I talk to you, I don’t think that President Muhammadu Buhari knows where that oil well is.

What is your idea about a local refinery?

A local refinery may not get the approval of some people because of oil pollution, but I will liaise with the Federal Government to do it and be paying taxes to the federal government

Do you believe in resource control?

That is what our people are fighting for. But that is not a day’s job because the same resource has been bringing problems. So, that will be followed gradually.

The Bayelsa State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (BASOPADEC) is supposed to have been on ground to ameliorate the sufferings of the oil producing communities through the 13 per cent derivation. Other oil producing states have established theirs, but Bayelsa is yet to do that. Do you intend to see to its take-off if you come on board?

 

I will ensure the establishment of the commission because the process is on even though it has not been completed.

What are your plans for the women folk?

I have 40 per cent position for the women, while the remaining 60 per cent will go to the men.

Vote buying has become a norm in Nigeria’s politics. What is your take on it?

Our people are wise now enough not to sell their votes and I am assuring you that not only members of my party, but members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are the ones, who will vote for me in this election. The PDP and APC will bring the money, but the people will collect it and still come out tovote for Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) because it is the party of the people.

What is your advice to the youth ahead of Saturday’s election?

I have already counseled the youth in the state on the dangers of allowing themselves to be used by politicians. In all my campaigns, I have been telling them that these politicians have their children abroad, but when elections come, they will use the ones at home to perpetrate violence and even use them to kill their brothers and sisters. After the elections, they will abandon them and they will become sea pirates and armed robbers. I have already educated the youths. I have been sounding this warning and I think that explains why a lot of them are now becoming sensible.

What is your expectation as we go into the election?

Every one of us should abide by the law because the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and police authorities have persistently stressed the need for all the political parties to play the rules, but you know that the APC and PDP are the two parties that always cause crisis.

What do you expect from the security agencies?

The security agencies should take their duty very seriously because they have been deployed to secure every one. They are not coming here for only the APC or the PDP. They are coming here for all the contestants. Of course, we know those going to the field. It may not be more than four of us, but as the iron lady of Bayelsa State, I am going to win the election.

What would happen to the projects initiated by the present administration, which are likely not to be completed before it leaves office?

I will not abandon any project because I will continue from where Governor Seriake Dickson stopped.

 

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Kogi guber: Deployment of Bello’s ex-ADC invitation to violence, PDP tells IGP

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Kogi guber: Deployment of Bello’s ex-ADC invitation to violence, PDP tells IGP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the deployment of CSP Usman Musa, former ADC to Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello to coordinate security in Saturday’s governorship election in the state is an invitation to violence and bloodletting.
The party in a statement Wednesday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that CSP Musa has been compromised and directed by the governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use excessive force, intimidate and arrest voters.
CSP Musa had been transferred to Lagos but PDP said he was deployed for the election to do the biddings of the governor and the APC.
“We have also been made aware of directives by the APC and agents of Governor Yahaya Bello to shoot and kill during the election to aid the manipulation of the electoral process for the APC,” PDP further alleged.
It called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to immediately reverse the deployment as it could lead to a breakdown of law and order.

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Edo APC crisis: NWC sets up Fact-Finding/Reconciliation Committee

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Edo APC crisis: NWC sets up Fact-Finding/Reconciliation Committee

    … Gives nod to suspension of state party chairman

To address the crisis in the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Working Committee (NWC) has set up a Fact-finding/Reconciliation Committee.

The party took the decision after its meeting Wednesday but, however, it did not give the names of the members of the committee.

In the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the NWC upheld the suspension of the Edo State APC chairman, Hon. Anslem Ojezua by the factional party executive in the state.

The factional state executive had on Wednesday suspended the state party chairman, Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, his Deputy, Hon. Philiph Shuiabu and the Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie.

The NWC was, however, silent on the suspension of the governor, his Deputy and the SSG.

Onilu, in the statement said: “The NWC has watched with grave concern the political development within the party ranks in Edo State and is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of events. We note that this is happening in spite of the various steps the party has taken to find an amicable resolution.

“Recall that party leaders such as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, and other eminent party leaders,  had all tried at various times to ensure that the issues do not escalate.

“Sadly, these interventions have not yielded the desirable results.

“However, the immediate concern of the NWC is how to ensure that unity returns to the ranks of the party in Edo State. In achieving this, we have decided to constitute a high-power fact-finding and reconciliation committee of party leaders to meet with all disputing parties to ensure that all issues are addressed and resolved.

“Meanwhile, the meeting of the NWC, which held today, Wednesday, at the Party’s National Secretariat received a notification of the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua by 11 of the 16 members of the Edo State Working Committee (SWC). We have reviewed the process they followed and conclude that they have fulfilled the required conditions.

“We therefore uphold the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua while we await the outcome of the Fact-finding and Reconciliation Committee.

“Please note that the NWC’s objective and cause of action is strictly to address the root causes of the disputations and reconcile all parties to make our great party even stronger.”

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Kogi poll: Large crowd at Ayingba for PDP rally

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Kogi poll: Large crowd at Ayingba for PDP rally

It was the ‘mother of all rallies’ on Wednesday at Ayingba, in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, when the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Musa Wada held his final campaign rally against Saturday’s election.

The mammoth crowd, which came from the nine local government areas in the Eastern part of the state, arrived the CMML Senior Primary school at Ayingba where the rally took place as early as 8am, to listen to the PDP candidate and his running mate, Hon. Sam Aro.

Our correspondent who was at the rally ground reports that the governorship candidate, who arrived Ayingba about 2:30 pm, could not get to the venue of the campaign ground until about 4:30 pm, due to the size of the surging crowd.

Engineer Wada, while addressing the people, attributed the large number of crowd to the people’s determination to eradicate the hungry-laden government of the APC in the state.

“Nobody gave you one naira to come here, you are here because of interest, determination and desire to yourselves, and the entire people of the state, from maladministration, poverty, lack of salary payment, development decay as characterised in the APC government in Kogi State.

“I want to assure you that your sacrifice to liberate Kogi State will not go unnoticed, because my first priority as governor, if Allah permits, will be total human and physical development,” said Wada.

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Give chance for peaceful elections, NGO tasks Bayelsans

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Give chance for peaceful elections, NGO tasks Bayelsans

A nongovernmental organisation known as Search for Common Ground has tasked all the relevant stakeholders involved in the Bayelsa State governorship election to give peace a chance as Bayelsans go to the polls.

Speaking in Yenago on Wednesday, the Media and Communications Coordinator of the NGO said it was greatly concerned with this bad development, seeing the provocative actions of political party supporters and hate speeches coming from the two major parties in the state.

The group said: “This constitutes serious danger to the election and period beyond. For instance the carrying of coffins during campaigns with inscription of another parties name on it. The numerous verbal attacks by the governorship candidates and party supporters using online platforms to post derogatory comments about their opponents.”

The group said that women have expressed fear to vote after witnessing a violent campaign that included open death threats between opposition party supporters.

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